Absolutes Only Halt Debate When They Meet with Intransigence
I’m straining for a silver lining, to be sure, but Congressman Patrick Kennedy does offer the useful service, from time to time, of stating rhetoric that is sufficiently blunt to expose the error underneath. With reference to the fight he picked with the Catholic Church:
Kennedy also said that no group “is getting everything it wants” in the medical overhaul. The church “has every right to promote its position,” he said, but if a group “seeks to impose absolutes on the debate, we are left standing idle instead of moving our nation forward.”
That’s only the case if those determining the course of the issue are intransigent in the face of the absolute. Every party to a negotiation has a bottom line that it will not cross; the process moves forward by determining the proximity to that line that other parties find tolerable.
This is even true of folks like me, whose bottom line is that the government should not be a significant force in the healthcare system. The way forward would be to figure out my determination of “significance” and explore alternate methods of achieving hoped-for ends. (That assumes, of course, that the hoped-for end isn’t in actuality government ownership of the healthcare system, which is probably the case for more than a few healthcare “reform” advocates.)